Gerhard Baum (Photo: Claus Dick)

HANOVER -- Networking the manufacturing industry involves a high degree of cultural change at industrial companies, Schaeffler's chief digital officer, Gerhard Baum, said Thursday.

"It's important to bring the people along," Baum said in an address at the annual automotiveIT Congress here.

The CDO of of the German automotive supplier group cited a range of advantages that will result from the digitization of society and industry, but he stressed that those advantages need to be communicated clearly.

Optimizing systems through the increased use of sensor technology will help to significantly boost security, sustainability and comfort, Baum said. Schaeffler is deploying a customer-centric strategy in this respect, especially when it comes to the group's various activities. And business and platform models also are designed with this starting point in mind.

Baum cited one digital use case involving a a so-called "bio-hybrid" vehicle, which can reach speeds of 25 km/hour using electric propulsion as well as muscle power.

Another example was the predictive adjustment of vehicle dynamics depending on the situation on the road. And Daum said Schaeffler is deploying real-time data analysis and intelligent control mechanisms.

On the road to digitization, stable and agile models need to be pursued jointly, Baum said, but he added that it is crucial to prioritize this orientation company-wide. Said the Schaeffler CDO: "Digitization has to be part of the company strategy."

The automotiveIT Congress, which is held every year during the CeBIT technology fair here, provides a forum to discuss the digital technologies that help reshape the global auto industry.

This year’s conference, which has 600 registered participants, featured presentations by, among others, Volkswagen Group CIO Martin Hofmann, Bosch CIO Elmar Pritsch and Brigitte Courtehoux, head of mobility services at France’s PSA Group.